After the previous post about using marketing to influence citizens' smoking behaviour, here is another public health campaign. On that battles a disease called dengue.
This is a tropical disease that results in severe headaches, fever, rash, muscle pains, and many other things. Untreated it can be deadly. Estimates are that every year 50 million people across the globe are infected. Up until now there is no vaccine yet, but scientists are working on it.
Market research on the dengue virus
After a couple of epidemic outbreaks in Brazil around late 19th and throughout 20th century, numbers seemed to have settled at the end of the eighties to around 75 000 infections a year. But in 2002 an epidemic broke out in Rio de Janeiro infecting 290 000 and killing over 90 people. In 2008 another dengue outbreak infected 250 000 and killed 174 people in the state of Rio.
This increase in numbers is partially explainable by more people moving into the cities and the accumulation of trash in these cities. How is trash related to dengue? The disease is transmitted by mosquito's and they have a good breading ground in trash where water can accumulate. The solution is mosquito control, limiting the opportunities for larve to develop to full blown disease carriers.
As said before, the mosquito is a key link in infecting people. So the main focus is to take this link out by eradicating this mosquito.
To achieve this there are all sorts of information brochures for all parts of the population and commercials. Various campaigns have been in place, but I guess the high increases of infections the last couple of years pressured the government to take some extra measures.
The latest effort is a combination of brochures, commercials on radio and TV, in combination with a website and presence on various social media. The social media presence isn't specifically for this campaign but it is all grouped onto general pages from the Ministry of Health.On Facebook and Orkut, they are represented as friends (not a fan page) and the Twitter account has some 6000+ followers but it also is targeted towards all the different efforts of the ministry. The Youtube account, called msgripesuina,(swine flue) features all the commercials on various subjects: stop crack use, efforts to reduce AIDS, combating dengue,... So more then actually connecting with people concerning the fight against dengue , a link is placed on the main campaign website to attract some visitors and fans to their pages. The government probably expects the biggest results from the traditional campaign. But I feel their scattered online presence doesn't really have an impact. Overall I don't think this campaign is too infectious.
picture by Fabricio Venâncio on Flickr